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So we adapted this very sweet Brittney spaniel from some friends of our who were going thru a divorce a few years back and were going to "put the dog down" because "suzy" ,the dog, had some age concerns. We said we would take her instead .It was the best decision we made! The dog turned out to be fiercely loyal and very sweet and we have cherished the years we have had with her ,she is now 17 or 18 ,mostly blind,has several benign tumors she bites at,sleeps most of the time,and has developed a very bad limp. We know the time is getting near and don't know what to do and wanted to solicit  advice from animal lovers and others as what to do.

The dog seems to be in  pain because of the limp but besides that she has a great appetite and wants allot of attention and I am a advocate of taking care of old  family pets like I would want to be taken care of when I reach advanced years.The children laugh at how I dote on the dog . I will carry her from room to room and other things so as to let her know she is loved and cared for , mostly because our friends that had her did neglect her for years and she developed many attachment issues that took  about a year to get over before she settled down with us and trusted we wouldn't leave her alone too long with out food water or the ability to go outside. So the question is "what to do now". Do we take her to a vet and put her to sleep so as to end her pain or do we not and keep  her as comfortable as possible . If we don't put her to sleep is it selfish of us because we don't want to lose her or do we view her like a grandparent that should be loved and kept alive and comfortable until they  let go of life when they are ready. Any advice would be welcome. Thanx

Originally posted to lightarty on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When There Cease to Be Good Times Interspersed (17+ / 0-)

    with the bad, that's at latest the time to end the hurting. You might ask vet if the dog can take occasional baby aspirin or if there is some doggy pain meds.

    Quality of life vs suffering is the issue.

    So sorry; we've had to make some of these tough calls for several 4 legged family members.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:12:38 AM PDT

  •  I am sorry to hear of this.. (8+ / 0-)

    The only advice I can offer is to check with the Vet and see what they advise.

    I am also a pet owner. I have a cat and I can understand how it would hurt to decide this.

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:14:28 AM PDT

  •  The best advice I ever got (16+ / 0-)

    was when my mother told me "you'll know when it's time."

    Universally, that's been true so far.  When the dog (or cat or any other animal) just doesn't seem right, is in obvious pain, and is too distracted to perform normal activities for their age and ability, it's time.

    In the case of my cat, it wasn't time when he developed high thyroid, it's treatable.  Nor time when he had congestive heart failure--we fixed that and his pills kept him perfectly happy and healthy.

    It was time the day I got up and he suddenly showed a great deal of disorientation.  His kidneys had failed.

    If you can't determine if "it's time," a vet can help you figure that out.  If your vet says that Suzy isn't in pain (or is in controllable pain that can be taken care of with medications), then it's definitely not time.

    By your description, good appetite and hungry for attention, even if uncomfortable from the limp, it may not quite be time...but I'd prepare myself.  It doesn't sound like it's too far off.

    Our Jasper was almost totally blind, completely deaf, arthritic, somewhat incontinent at times, a bit senile, and kind of old-man testy.  Even so, he was a sweet animal, interested in food, found his way around with his nose perfectly well, and obviously happy (if confused).

    We finally chose to end things when his spleen tumor began to cause internal bleeding, weakness, and obvious discomfort at the age of fifteen.  It was the right decision, but difficult at the time.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:18:13 AM PDT

  •  there are meds for the limp if it's arthritis (11+ / 0-)

    based. A simple NSAID may be all it takes. My dog seems to occasionally have some pain. I can't really tell - he just becomes really irritable. I give him an aleve and that seems to do well for him for a few days. (He's 125 pounds). Too often with alive upsets him tummy.

    The vet gives him a clean bill of health though. She suggested Rimadyl as an alternative but I don't think the dog needs it everyday so I passed.

    I'd try going to the vet. See what they suggest for the limp. I wouldn't give a human NSAID without blood work first.

  •  Sorry to hear the news. When the time does come, (13+ / 0-)

    be sure to have the vet put in a catheter first, then bring Brittney back to the room you're in.  That way, when you give the go-ahead, she will feel nothing, just go off peacefully to sleep when the vet puts the injection into the catheter.  I had that done once.  But the other time, the vet stuck the needle in without a catheter and my pet's last moments were painful to watch.

    There are all kinds of pain killers available. But when Brittney is really enjoying life, then you should put her interests first, no matter how hard it is for you. You won't regret it later. But if you make her suffer, you will regret that.

    •  I meant to say, "But when Brittney is NOT really (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, lightarty, mcronan

      enjoying life...".

      I disagree with "you'll know when it's time".  There is not necessarily one thing that happens to make it obvious when the time has come to say goodbye. (If it does, consider yourself lucky!)

      It's more likely that you will have to make a judgement call. You may be able to eke out another week with her. But like I said above, if you put her interests first, you will not regret it later.

      •  "I disagree with "you'll know when it's time". (0+ / 0-)

        I concur.  I also want to say, 'don't feel guilty"  Because you certainly will. No matter what you do, you'll later think 'I did it too soon."  Or, "I waited too long."   Be assured  you did the best you could for your friend

        For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?'' ...

        by QuaintIrene on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:06:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I feel your pain (13+ / 0-)

    We had to put our 18y/o chihuahua Joey down last summer. She had been declining for several years, was completely blind and deaf. We carried her up and down stairs and outside. However, her tail would wag and she seemed happy when she had her supper. Her ability to walk and stand deteriorated and this was when we let her go. We had similar situation with 23 y/o Moe the cat(renal failure), and 10y/o Buster the pug(bone cancer). Somehow, you will know when your beloved pet has no more joy. If arthritis meds or pain meds don't help, I think it will be an easier decision to make. Bless you for loving your dog. (Our kids laugh at us too ;)  I will be thinking and hoping for the best for you all.

  •  Whenever you decide (11+ / 0-)

    Don't let anyone make you feel guilty.  This dog has been a gift to you and you to her.  She doesn't have much time left either way, and it's up to you to decide whether it's time to relieve the suffering now or later.  We always hope that when they die it will be peacefully in their sleep and we won't have to make the decision, but that seems to happen so rarely.

    Our last dog's tumors were malignant and had spread. I don't know how much pain she had been in and for how long because she had such a strong spirit she probably wouldn't show it.

    At a certain point we decided more medical procedures, at least invasive or disruptive ones, would just be cruelty and would be done for our sake more than for hers.

    From then on she had steak for dinner every night (never lost her appetite either) and we carried her from room to room.  It was finally when she couldn't stand up on her own anymore and could barely stand up long enough to eat after we helped her up, that we decided the time had come.  In truth, thinking back, I think maybe we waited a bit too long.

    We were able to find a vet that did the procedure at home. This made it so much easier and I strongly recommend it if it's possible.  We carried her to her favorite couch, and our hearts broke as she gave a friendly few flops of her tail and a lick on the hand for the vet that came to end her life.

    She left us gently, and we knew we did our best for her and took care of her all the way to the end. It was our duty and responsibility to do that for her, as hard as it was.

    This is your decision, whatever you decide now is ok.

  •  You'll know in your heart when it's time. (6+ / 0-)

    Not much but it's the best I've got.  May your friend's last days be as peaceful and painless as possible for you both.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:41:55 AM PDT

  •  There's one thing you can try for her limp (7+ / 0-)

    that might just ease the pain enough to give her some more time, it gave my oldest girl an extra year and a half of good quality life....

    It's called Missing Link and comes in a foil bag...you want the Gold bag with glucosamine and chondroiten in addition to all the other micronutrients...

    it's under 20 bucks a bag and it's mainly a meat/liver base powdered so most all dogs love it, mine would just like hers out of my hand or you can sprinkle on her food.....

    The change in pain and energy was amazing and it has worked for more than one of my friends old buddies too......

    If she loses her appetite completely or gets dehydrated those are both bad signs......

    On biting at her lumps, they might itch, try Sulfadene first then a steroid type anti itch medication you rub in.....

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:00:14 AM PDT

  •  Take her to the vet (11+ / 0-)

    Have them do an evaluation of her pain level and if there is some form of relief for it.  If there is then the other heroics of carrying her from room to room may be OK for a while.

    Animals are the great joy of our lives, sometimes letting go of them, and doing it in a safe, humane manner is the hardest.  I have never regretted doing what was best for my animals, not any of them.  They all had amazing lives with us, all but one a rescue of one form or another, they were weaved into our lives.  

    Do what is right for her, not for you, and you will have made the right decision.

    My Brothers Keeper

    by Reetz on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:13:32 AM PDT

  •  We are in a similar boat. (6+ / 0-)

    My dog has been on Deramaxx for a while for arthritis. He has tolerated it well. A couple of weeks ago, he started to slow down and was limping. The vet has added tramadol to the mix. He is currently doing well on the new combo and has a spring back in his step. He is a lab mix and is 12.5. When this combination loses it's effect and he starts limping and showing other signs of pain, we will be at the end of the road and will do what is necessary.

    See what your vet has to offer for immediate relief and go from there.

    Visit The Inoculation Project on Sunday morning and support science and math projects in red state classrooms!

    by nervousnellie on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:36:30 AM PDT

  •  I have just been through this (7+ / 0-)

    I was wondering about my old girl, if I was being selfish, if I wanted to salvage every possible good day (which meant she would probably be feeling bad by the time I made the decision) or spare her the pain and indignity that comes at the end (at the cost of denying her some good days).

    I made an appointment to consult my vet, and her condition happened to take a nosedive the weekend before her monday appointment.  She looked and obviously was miserable.  I was in tears and kicking myself for letting her get into this state (it had come on suddenly, but I still felt responsible).  She was having trouble breathing and didn't want to get up at all.

    There was a med the vet thought might help, kind of a Hail Mary.  I took her home thinking probably I would be back the next day.  I gave her the pill.  An hour later I had an opportunity to reflect on wishful thinking, because I really, really, really thought she looked a little better.

    Next morning she was a different dog.  Long story short, she had another two good months thanks to that med--but I watched her closely, not wanting to let her get miserable again.  I discussed her with the vet, who advised me to keep an eye on her breathing and bring her in if I saw any change.

    It turned out the end came fast.  I found her lying on her side with labored breathing and took her in.  The vet said she wasn't coming back from this, so I gave the word.

    I don't have the answer, but I can tell you that it's an awful feeling when your dog is in really bad shape, you know you can't do anything to relieve her pain, and you blame yourself for not preventing it.  Fortunately I got a reprieve and a second chance.

    The only thing I do know is that seeing your vet is a good idea.  Your vet may have meds to help your dog feel better, and can certainly help you get oriented to making a decision that is right for you and her.

  •  The dog may tell you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Ahianne, roadbear, lightarty

    My mother said that one day my childhood dog just stared at her and said without words "I can't take this any more. Make it stop."

    With our late cat we kept pointedly asking the vet what her quality of life was like and whether we were being selfish by keeping her alive.

    Something you can do to manage your own feelings is to sit down with the dog and explain that she's been wonderful for you and you want to keep her, but not a day past when she needs to leave. She won't understand but you will.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:57:27 AM PDT

    •  My Gracie did that to me this winter. (0+ / 0-)

      "It's time." just a look, and her voice in my head, exactly like she told me her name when she first came to me.
      Not all are so tuned to their pets, though. I feel lucky to have heard her. I work at being able to hear my beasts.

      Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

      by emmasnacker on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:51:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wrestling with just that myself :) (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Ahianne, Sonnet, roadbear, lightarty

    My cocker spaniel is at least 12.  We really don't know because we got him full grown from a humane society 11 years ago.  He's almost completely blind and deaf.  He sleeps 23 hours per day.  He's active for 5-10 minutes at a time several times per day.  But...he eats.  He goes outside and sniffs around.  He takes care of his business outside most of the time.  He gets confused and bumps into things, but doesn't seem to have pain.  Does he have fun?  I don't think so. But, he seems happy when someone drops a scrap of food on the floor that he can smell when he happens to walk by.  He wags his tail when he smells us.

    I hope he just goes in his sleep one day....

  •  After many wise and loving dogs leaving this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roadbear, lightarty, cactusgal

    Earth in my arms, I will offer only this: best to decide to send them off too early than a day too late.

    It's never easy. But frankly, if I could choose how I would leave this life, I would want to leave held safely in the arms of the ones I love and trusted the most, in my living room, with a tummy full of all my favorite foods (yes, especially brownies), as I painlessly drifted away.

    That's exactly how my geriatric dogs leave us -- including the brownies.

    If your vet does not do house calls, and you want an at-home euthanasia, your vet (or local humane society) may know of a vet who does them.

    You and your pup will remain in my thoughts.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:01:09 PM PDT

  •  Going through this very thing right now, and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightarty

    have been through it many times before. Appetite is key, I've found. If they want their food, they're still in the game.  

    When we sign on with the babies, we become their God. We take care of them with love and to the best of our ability to very end.

    IMO Grover said it best, but I'll add one thing-based on personal experience. Their spirits really are just drifting off to sleep. Soon they'll awaken and I will have found them a new, healthy body to move into.

    Am thinking of you...
    Cactusgal

     

  •  I would probably do the same as you, take great (0+ / 0-)

    care of her as long as you can. If bladder or bowel control starts to be a problem or she keeps you up all night or starts having more painful bouts, then it seems obvious.
    Bless you for taking such wonderful care of her.

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Sun May 05, 2013 at 06:20:16 PM PDT

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